http://www.salon.com/books/feature/2004/11/15/europe/index.html This article, a review of two books, is chock full of interesting points to debate. It opens with: There's much much more, almost each worthy of its own thread. A brilliant, concise formulation there. And by the way, it's not "seemingly" contradictory, it IS contradictory. If the contradictions don't blow up the current Republican party, then the GOP will become increasingly insane. Again, that above could probably be itself a great starting point for a thread. Anyway, one of my concerns about Bush's policy is that he went way past just "going it alone," he actively alienated Europe, pretty much dared them to create an alternative power center. Guess what? They did. You can't just go around taunting an entity with the latent power of Europe, and not expect a reaction. And because Europe is at least attempting to create a more moral foreign policy, and because Europe gives so much more in foreign aid than we do, it'll be impossible for us to challenge their "soft power." OK, they can't challenge our hard power, but guess what? We can't use our hard power anywhere now because we're bogged down in Iraq. Not to mention using it undermines it, and what little soft power we have left. (If the writer was a soccer geek, he would have mentioned how club soccer is so pan-European, and itself is undermining nationalism. He does give Beckham a shout-out.) I found that very interesting. I've often suspected this, but it's interesting to see that someone who has done research thinks this. How would the US stack up to "Europe" if we just measured "useful stuff?" Even more troubling, how would we stack up against Germany, France, Belgium, nations like that? My reaction is, Europe has the better overall strategy, but dammit, there are times when kicking ass (Afghanistan) is clearly the best policy, and we shouldn't hesitate to do it. Of course, Europe was totally with us in Afghanistan. Here's a goodie for BenReilly: For all the uninformed conservatives who regurgitate the US having the best healthcare in the world, this is iteration #227 that tells us otherwise. The writer isn't primarily concerned with US domestic politics, so he doesn't really get into this much more. But I believe that a big problem is that any discussion of child poverty has so many racial overtones that our system can't engage the issue, let alone ameliorate it. The Clintons got screwed when big business didn't go to bat for them in '94 like they'd promised. Well, they're reaping what they sowed. Health care costs are an increasing competitive problem for American business. IOW, most of the favorable demographics, and the favorable economics deriving from that, in the US, are because of immigrants. Suck that, Pete Wilson.